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B.C. parents react to mandatory mask policy for all Surrey students Grades 4 to 12

Parents ask why only Surrey Schools are requiring masks, rather than all schools.
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Surrey Schools has implemented a new order from Fraser Health for all staff from K-12 and all students from Grades 4 to 12 to don face masks at all times.

Surrey Schools has implemented a new order from Fraser Health for all staff from K-12 and all students from Grades 4 to 12 to don face masks at all times.

Surrey Schools Superintendent Jordan Tinney took to Twitter Saturday (March 27) to share a notification letter that outlines the new mask protocol.

The letter notes that Surrey Schools worked with Fraser Health to establish a series of targeted measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Some of these measures include:

  • limiting adult contact in schools
  • scheduling specific times for schools to review and adjust site-specific health and safety plan
  • working with school administrators and families to ensure all students and parents vacate school grounds immediately after school
  • adjusting our maintenance schedules and routines.

Additionally, Tinney notes that all K-12 school-based staff are getting vaccinated, adding that the district is "on track to vaccinate over 8,500 staff members by April 1."

But with an "increasing trend in community incidence of COVID-19 in the Surrey region," Tinney says the district began its implementation of an Order of the Medical Health Officer, specific to Face Coverings in Surrey Schools, effective Saturday, March 27. 

"This Order is specific to our district and requires all K-12 staff and all students in Grades 4 to 12 to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including when they are with their learning groups," he writes. 

Face Coverings in Surrey Schools

This Order was developed by Fraser Health's Chief Medical Health Officer, in consultation with the Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Education and Surrey Board of Education.

Exceptions include:

  • If an individual is unable to wear a face-covering because of a psychological, behavioural or health condition; or a physical, cognitive or intellectual impairment.
  • If an individual is unable to put on or remove a face covering without the assistance of another person.
  • While communicating with a person who has a hearing impairment.
  • When an individual is actively eating or drinking.
  • For teachers – if the face covering is removed while providing direct instruction at a distance of more than two metres from others.

For K-3 students, the Medical Health Officer encourages students to wear non-medical masks that are consistent with the above exceptions.

Public response to Surrey Schools mask policy

Following the announcement, numerous locals have taken to Twitter to share their frustration that the order only applies to Surrey Schools, rather than B.C.-wide.

A few people also note that younger children in K-3 should be required to wear masks, too.

Vancouver Is Awesome has reached out to Fraser Health for comment.